2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the landmark conservation bill that created a way for Americans to protect their most pristine wildlands for future generations. 40 years ago the Chattooga River was made a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system making it a member of a select group of natural resources. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act has protected the Chattooga River from development and overuse so that each visitor has the same wilderness experience as visitors 40 years ago.
“In the past 50 years, we have learned—all too slowly, I think—to prize and protect God’s precious gifts. Because we have, our own children and grandchildren will come to know and come to love the great forests and the wild rivers that we have protected and left to them . . . An unspoiled river is a very rare thing in this Nation today. Their flow and vitality have been harnessed by dams and too often they have been turned into open sewers by communities and by industries. It makes us all very fearful that all rivers will go this way unless somebody acts now to try to balance our river development.”
– President Lyndon Johnson on signing the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968.